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Fatal Occupational Injuries 2013, Part 2

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In our previous blog post, we reported on the findings of the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries for 2013. This post continues that story.

Occupations With Reduced Fatality Rates

The fundamental point of the report is that fatal occupational injuries are declining. In certain occupations, this is particularly pronounced. In construction, for example construction trades workers, construction laborers both in 2013. The numbers for construction trades workers were particularly encouraging: Since 2006, the number of fatalities in this group has declined by 42 percent, and lower by five percent of 2012.

In transportation and materials moving occupations, fatal work injuries were five percent lower. The improvement was particularly seen among sales workers and truck drivers. However, the report noted that these numbers were expected to rise when final statistics are calculated (the current report is preliminary).

Farming, fishing and forestry occupations saw a decline of 13 percent in work fatalities. The most significant drop was among agricultural workers; there were 19 percent fewer deaths than in 2012.

Occupations With Increased Fatality Rates

The report is not entirely positive. Protective service occupations had a seven percent higher death rate in 2013 than in 2012. The largest occupational segment in this category was firefighting, where fatal injuries rose 194 percent, primarily because of two serious incidents that killed multiple firefighters. Resident military personnel also saw an increase in fatalities, from 50 in 2012 to 67 in 2013.

The other part of this industry category, law enforcement workers, was like other categories.  Deaths declined to an all-time low of 97, a reduction of 20 percent over the 2012.

Where These Fatalities Occurred

Although 30 states were part of the trend toward fewer worker deaths, 17 states and the District of Columbia reported higher numbers.  Three states had the same rate of worker deaths in 2012 and 2013. 

According to a report issued by the AFL-CIO, the most dangerous state for workers was North Dakota.  In 2012, the job fatality rate was 17.7 deaths per 100,000 workers, and is one of the highest rates of work-related deaths reported by any state - ever.  The number of workers who died on the job in 2012 was more than double the rate in 2006 and is five times the national average.

Other states with high fatality rates in 2012 are Wyoming (12.2), Alaska (8.9), Montana (7.3) and West Virginia (6.9) as measured by deaths per 100,000 workers.  

And what about New York?  According to OSHA, the state had a work fatality rate of 2.4 per 100,000 workers, making it one of the safest states in which to work.